The Weight Management Program at Kennedy Krieger provides patients and their caregivers the skills to develop healthy habits and behaviors that increase mobility and reduce the medical risks of being overweight.
About Our Program:
The Weight Management Program at Kennedy Krieger Institute is dedicated to managing the health of patients with disabilities who are overweight or obese. The weight management program provides comprehensive nutrition assessment, education, and treatment for overweight and obese patients and their families.
Who We Serve:
The weight management program is open to patients older than two years of age who are overweight or obese with an existing, diagnosed weight-related condition. We welcome one-time evaluations or ongoing treatment.
Our Treatment Approach:
We conduct an initial evaluation during which we collect information about the patient’s eating habits, motivation for change and previous attempts at weight loss. We then establish a weight goal with the patient and nutritionist based on the age of the patient, how overweight they may be, and prevalence of existing weight-related conditions. To achieve that goal, we develop an individualized plan with the patient and/or caregiver.
During follow-up visits, we review the patient’s progress in meeting their goals, identify barriers to success, further nutrition education, and continually refine their personal weight loss/management objectives.
We assess if patients can participate in one of our lifestyle groups or for one of the additional services listed below.
Fit and Healthy Kids Group:
Children ages 10-18 whose weight affects their strength, endurance, balance or coordination participate in this group. Prior to participating in the group, a physical therapist will evaluate the child to determine functional goals. Group sessions will consist of appropriate exercise stations and interactive nutrition education games. Most children participating in this group have an intellectual or neurological disability.
Healthy Eating Group for Adults with Down Syndrome
Individuals with Down syndrome who are transitioning to adulthood and a more independent life benefit from this eight-session group. Nutrition education games and activities convey healthy eating concepts while a social worker leads participants through discussions on emotional eating, understanding hunger cues and more.
Spina Bifida Wellness Group
Participants in this group receive occupational therapy designed to increase upper body range of motion and strength, and increase quality of life through leisure activities. Nutrition education activities increase awareness of current eating habits and motivate participants to set self-directed goals for improvement. All activities are appropriate for individuals who are affected with decreased executive function skills. Participants develop camaraderie with others in the group who face similar barriers and challenges.
Metabolic Cart Testing
Metabolic cart testing is available to determine an individual’s resting metabolic rate (the amount of calories burned in a day at rest). This information is used to develop an appropriate meal plan in order to meet the patient’s weight goal. This is especially helpful for individuals who use wheelchairs that have experienced muscle wasting or changes in body composition.
Group Home Consultative Services
Individuals living in group homes are faced with unique challenges. Group home residents and their staff can meet with a nutritionist in the weight management program to develop and review menus, establish a specific weight goal, and develop a plan to meet established goals.
The patient is referred to additional services such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, social work, and behavioral psychology when appropriate. Interdisciplinary collaboration occurs between the referring physician, nutritionist and additional disciplines involved in the care and treatment of the individual.